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Velocity vs. Acceleration: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Published on January 26, 2024
Velocity is the rate of change of position of an object; Acceleration is the rate of change of velocity of an object.
Velocity vs. Acceleration

Key Differences

Velocity is a vector quantity representing the rate and direction of the movement of an object. Acceleration, also a vector quantity, specifically measures the rate at which velocity changes, both in magnitude and direction.
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Jan 26, 2024
Velocity gives a clear picture of how fast an object is moving and in which direction. Acceleration, on the other hand, informs us about the increase or decrease in velocity, offering insights into the forces acting on the object.
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Jan 26, 2024
The calculation of velocity involves distance traveled over time, considering direction. Acceleration calculation focuses on the change in velocity over a period, reflecting how quickly an object speeds up, slows down, or changes direction.
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Constant velocity implies no acceleration, as there is no change in speed or direction. However, if there is any change in velocity, even if the speed remains constant but the direction changes, this would result in acceleration.
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Jan 26, 2024
The units of velocity are typically meters per second (m/s) in a specified direction. Acceleration's units are meters per second squared (m/s²), quantifying the change in velocity per unit time.
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Comparison Chart

Definition

Speed with direction
Change in velocity
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Jan 26, 2024

Units

Meters per second (m/s)
Meters per second squared (m/s²)
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Role

Describes motion
Describes change in motion
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Type

Vector quantity
Vector quantity
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Dependence

On path and time
On velocity and time
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Velocity and Acceleration Definitions

Velocity

A vector measure of movement.
The ball's velocity was constant during its flight.
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Jan 08, 2024

Acceleration

A vector quantity describing velocity change.
The roller coaster's acceleration caused a thrilling experience.
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Jan 08, 2024

Velocity

Rate of movement in a specific direction.
The car moved with a velocity of 60 km/h northwards.
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Jan 08, 2024

Acceleration

Change in velocity per unit time.
The rocket's acceleration was constant during launch.
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Velocity

Speed with directional component.
The river's velocity increases near the waterfall.
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Acceleration

Rate of change of velocity.
The car's acceleration was noticeable as it sped up.
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Jan 08, 2024

Velocity

Displacement per unit time.
The velocity of the wind was measured to be 20 m/s east.
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Jan 08, 2024

Acceleration

A measure of how quickly velocity changes.
The train’s acceleration was gradual but steady.
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Velocity

Rapidity or speed of motion; swiftness.
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Jan 06, 2024

Acceleration

Increase in the speed of an object.
The athlete's acceleration was key to winning the race.
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Jan 08, 2024

Velocity

(Physics) A vector quantity whose magnitude is a body's speed and whose direction is the body's direction of motion.
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Jan 06, 2024

Acceleration

The act of accelerating.
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Velocity

The rate at which something acts or occurs
The velocity of metabolism of glucose in muscle cells.
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Acceleration

The process of being accelerated.
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Velocity

The rate at which money changes hands in an economy.
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Acceleration

Abbr. a(Physics) The rate of change of velocity with respect to time.
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Velocity

(physics) A vector quantity that denotes the rate of change of position with respect to time, combining speed with a directional component.
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Jan 06, 2024

Acceleration

(uncountable) The act of accelerating, or the state of being accelerated; increase of motion or action; as opposed to retardation or deceleration.
A falling body moves toward the earth with an acceleration of velocity
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Velocity

Rapidity of motion.
The train was travelling at a slower velocity than usual.
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Acceleration

(countable) The amount by which a speed or velocity increases (and so a scalar quantity or a vector quantity).
The boosters produce an acceleration of 20 metres per second per second.
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Velocity

The rate of occurrence.
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Acceleration

(physics) The change of velocity with respect to time (can include deceleration or changing direction).
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Velocity

(economics) The number of times that an average unit of currency is spent during a specific period of time.
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Acceleration

The advancement of students at a rate that places them ahead of where they would be in the regular school curriculum.
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Velocity

Quickness of motion; swiftness; speed; celerity; rapidity; as, the velocity of wind; the velocity of a planet or comet in its orbit or course; the velocity of a cannon ball; the velocity of light.
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Jan 06, 2024

Acceleration

The act of accelerating, or the state of being accelerated; increase of motion or action; as, a falling body moves toward the earth with an acceleration of velocity; - opposed to retardation.
A period of social improvement, or of intellectual advancement, contains within itself a principle of acceleration.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 06, 2024

Velocity

Rate of motion; the relation of motion to time, measured by the number of units of space passed over by a moving body or point in a unit of time, usually the number of feet passed over in a second. See the Note under Speed.
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Acceleration

An increase in speed;
Modern science caused an acceleration of cultural change
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Velocity

Distance travelled per unit time
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Acceleration

The act of accelerating; increasing the speed
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Velocity

Rate and direction of change in position.
The comet’s velocity brought it closer to Earth.
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Jan 08, 2024

Acceleration

(physics) a rate of change of velocity
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Jan 06, 2024

Repeatedly Asked Queries

How is acceleration different from velocity?

Acceleration is the rate of change of velocity, not just speed.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 26, 2024

Are velocity and acceleration scalar quantities?

No, they are both vector quantities, having magnitude and direction.
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Jan 26, 2024

Is it possible to accelerate without changing speed?

Yes, by changing direction while maintaining constant speed.
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Jan 26, 2024

What is velocity?

Velocity is the rate of change of position with a directional component.
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Jan 26, 2024

Can an object have zero velocity and still accelerate?

Yes, during directional changes or at the start of motion.
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Jan 26, 2024

How do you calculate velocity?

Velocity is calculated as displacement divided by time.
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Jan 26, 2024

Can velocity be constant?

Yes, if speed and direction remain unchanged.
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Jan 26, 2024

What does zero acceleration imply?

The velocity is constant; there's no change in speed or direction.
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Jan 26, 2024

What does negative acceleration mean?

It often refers to deceleration, where an object slows down.
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Jan 26, 2024

How do gravity and acceleration relate?

Gravity is a force that causes a constant acceleration towards the Earth.
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Jan 26, 2024

What are the units of acceleration?

Meters per second squared (m/s²).
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Jan 26, 2024

Can two objects have the same velocity but different accelerations?

Yes, if they are changing their velocities at different rates.
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What is instantaneous velocity?

The velocity of an object at a specific moment in time.
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How does acceleration relate to force?

Acceleration occurs when a force acts on a mass (Newton's Second Law).
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Jan 26, 2024

Can an object have acceleration in the opposite direction of its velocity?

Yes, this typically indicates slowing down.
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What is average velocity?

It's the total displacement divided by total time taken.
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Jan 26, 2024

What is deceleration in terms of acceleration?

Deceleration is negative acceleration, where velocity decreases.
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Jan 26, 2024

How do vectors play a role in understanding velocity and acceleration?

Vectors provide direction and magnitude, essential for both concepts.
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Jan 26, 2024

What factors affect velocity?

Initial speed, direction, and forces applied.
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Does changing direction always mean acceleration?

Yes, as acceleration includes direction change.
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Jan 26, 2024

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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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